Judge rules woman shackled during labor can pursue 'U visa'

Judge rules woman shackled during labor can pursue 'U visa'

September 20th, 2012 by Associated Press in Local - Breaking News

Juana Villegas wears handcuffs while demonstrating outside the Tennessee Supreme Court building in Nashville.

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

NASHVILLE - A federal judge has ruled that a Nashville woman who won a civil lawsuit against the Davidson County Sheriff's Office for being shackled by deputies during labor can pursue a visa reserved for crime victims.

U.S. District Judge William Haynes Jr. issued his ruling on Thursday in the case of Juana Villegas, who was arrested in July 2008 on a minor traffic violation. The charges were later dropped, and a jury awarded her $200,000 in damages.

Villegas testified that her wrists and ankles were bound during an ambulance ride from the jail to the hospital.

In his ruling, Haynes said Villegas has met a minimum burden for a "U visa."

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service will have the final say as to whether she should get one.